Scott Parel holds a one-stroke lead over Steve Wheatcroft heading into the final round of the Air Capital Classic. Parel made two birdies in his first three holes at Crest view Country Club in the third round. He then made a lengthy eagle putt on 14 to get to 12-under-par but would give one back on 16 and finish at 202 11-under-par.
There are seven players tied for third two off the pace. Notable names in that group include; Paul Claxton, who shot 63 in the third round, Kansas Jayhawk Chris Thompson, first-round leader Alex Prugh and Bhavik Patel. Parel, who has never held a lead after 54 holes in a Web.com Tour event, ranks seventh this week in fairways hit. The 48-year-old pro is trying to keep it in the short grass as much as possible because he knows that the rough this week cuts down on the amount of chance he has to make birdies.
“The thing for me this week is I have to play out of the fairway,” he said. “Keeping the ball in play in the past has been my strength, this year it is not.”
Parel sites a herniated disc along with other troubles with his back for an inability to find as many fairways as he is accustomed to. He is starting to feel good and is playing much better as a result.
“The back is great,” he said. “The last three weeks it’s felt really good and you have to play well when you feel good.”
Parel has not recorded a top-10 this year on the Web.com Tour. In fact this is only the fourth cut he has made. The Augusta, Georgia resident knows that this is a good opportunity to get his first win on Tour and hopes to capitalize on his good play heading into the final round. The top 75 on the money list after the Cox Classic get into the Web.com
Tour Finals at the end of the year which is what Parel, who is currently ranked 153rd, is focused.
“I just put myself in position to have a chance,” he said. “You have to take advantage because you don’t know how many chances you’re going to get.
“Everyone knows you make the majority of your money in a three or four week period. My goal is to play well enough to get into that top 75 and have a chance in those four finals events.” Wheatcroft birdied his first four holes of the day before making four bogeys in his next five holes. He struggled with his short game and also made a few mistakes off the tee in that “bad stretch of golf”. He was able to save his round on 18 when he buried a lengthy eagle putt putting him at 10-under and in the final threesome on Sunday.
“It was a great way to finish, I needed that,” he said. “Because I felt like I had just thrown the day away. “You always want to be in the final group,” he said. “You want to be with the leaders because if you have to catch somebody you want to be watching them.”
Players will go off in threesomes on Sunday off split tees with the leaders teeing off the first hole at 9:50 AM CT because of the possibility of storms in the afternoon.
Third-Round Notes & Quotes:
* This week’s purse is $650,000 with $117,000 going to the champion.
* Paul Claxton fired a 63 in the third round that included a bogey on his fourth hole of the day. Claxton hit 11 fairways during the round and took just 24 putts once on the greens.
“If you get something going like I did, it’s just perfect,” he said. “There is no wind and the greens are holding, you just hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens like I did and I made a few putts.”
Claxton is struggling this year missing the cut in his last four events coming into this week. He has made a few changes this week and credits those adjustments with his great play this week.
“I haven’t been doing anything real well this year,” he said. “But I switched drivers and I switched putters and it seems to be clicking a little better than what I was doing.”
The transition to the new equipment has been smooth and has given him confidence that he can post another low round in the final round.
“Sometimes a change is what you need and it’s been working this week so far,” he said. “If I can get out and do this again tomorrow, you never know.”
* The last time Steve Wheatcroft found himself near the lead after 54 holes was the 2012 Albertson’s Boise Open where he posted a final round 69 to finish in a tie for second.
*Aron Price’s 64 on Saturday is the lowest score he has recorded on a moving day in his career on the Web.com Tour.
*There were 12 eagles made on the back nine in round three with six coming at the par-5 14th.